The new queen looked down at her stepdaughter’s pallid face. She was a pretty baby, in her strange way. "Is she… healthy?" She touched the baby’s cheek. Her skin was cold as snow. The queen shuddered.
"Healthy?" the doctor asked. He shrugged. "I can’t say. She’s doesn’t have the fever that killed her father, that I can assure you. She seems strong enough."
The queen gripped the edges of the crib. "My maids say that her mother was a demon, that she disguised herself and bewitched my husband, then fled after the child was born."
The doctor laughed. "A demon? You should know better than to listen to gossip, my lady."
The queen touched the baby’s cheek again, and the little girl nuzzled into her hand. Her mouth moved to suckle on the queen’s fingers. Her sharp, tiny teeth drew blood, but the queen didn’t draw back. Her other hand drifted to her belly. There would be no other babies for her, not with her husband dead.
The doctor cleared his throat. "My lady…."
"What?" the queen said.
"No one needs to know that the baby wasn’t infected. Of course she’s not a demon, but anyone can see that she isn’t natural. Maybe it would be best if−"
"No." The queen gathered the baby into her arms. "Leave us."
The doctor bowed, then exited. "As you wish, my lady."
The queen kissed the baby’s cheek. "I will protect you, and demon or not, you will be my daughter." She brushed coal-black hair out of the girl’s eyes. "I will call you Snow White."